On Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney explained that unmanned drone strikes, even those conducted on American citizens, are "legal, ethical, wise." Carney was peppered with questions when a new memo was obtained by NBC News that detailed some of the justifications whereby American citizens can be targeted with drones if they are believed to be senior members of al-Qaeda.
Carney emphasized that the drone strikes were being conducted "in a way that is fully consistent with the Constitution and all the applicable laws." But that didn’t prevent both Democrat and Republican lawmakers from expressing outrage and criticism at the secrecy and legality of drones targeting American citizens.
11 Senators, 8 Democrats and 3 Republicans, reacted by asking President Obama to provide legal opinions to justify the drone strikes on American citizens.
But, where is the great defender of civil liberties and ardent advocate of a foreign policy rooted in "heartland values?" Of course, I’m asking where is the outrage and criticism from former Democratic Senator Russ Feingold.
For years, Feingold was the liberal vanguard on civil liberties, always quick to criticize President Bush’s 'War on Terror’ and bemoaning the "unconstitutional" Patriot Act.
But Feingold, always an ACLU darling, has been nearly silent in the wake of the Obama administration’s enhanced drone war that spans the globe.
In February 2012, Feingold disappointed many liberals by noting that he was "pleased" by the 2011 targeted killing of American citizens Anwar al-Awlaki and his 16 year-old son in the Yemeni desert. And when pressed by DemocracyNOW’s Amy Goodman about the Obama administration’s use of drones on American citizens, Feingold could only muster an incoherent argument and said the drone strikes were "a close question."
Nope, Russ Feingold is nowhere to be found when it comes to the Obama administration’s unbridled use of drones. It seems that former Senator Feingold’s outspoken principles on civil liberties, the Constitution, and foreign policy were only reserved for criticizing a Republican president.